Iranian Jewry – History, Culture, and Traditions

Since the destruction of the First Temple (Solomon’s Temple) and the expulsion of the ten tribes, Jews have settled across Mesopotamian and Persian lands. Many returned to the Land of Israel after Cyrus the Great decreed that Jews within his kingdom were invited to resettle the Land of Israel and to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Not all the Jews of Persia were able or willing to return to their homeland, and many remained until this very day in Persia/Iran.

Of all the world’s Jewish communities, the longest documented is the history of the Jews of Persian/Iranian. This treasure trove of information enables us, as researchers, to delve deeper into this rich history and to search for the lost remnants of ancient Judaism, its cultural influence, traditions, and uniqueness. Iranian Jews in Israel and throughout the Western world take great pride in their unique heritage, thereby strengthening their community enabling it to withstand the hardships and upheavals it has experienced recently and throughout its long and glorious history.  

The aims of this sub-unit study area are as follows:

  1. To research Iranian Jewry by documenting its history and its traditions.
  2. To research their distinctive semantical language, which is unique even among the multi-cultural and multi-dialectical languages in Persia/Iran.
  3. To study the life of Jews in Iran today, focusing on their genealogy, customs, and traditions vis-à-vis the intensive modernization process within general Iranian society.
  4. To research the Iranian Jewish diaspora, its influence and impact on Jewish life and society and its pattern of dispersal in the Western world.